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June 2017 U.S. Poverty Action

Take a Powerful Stand for Medicaid

The Senate is coming close to voting on “repeal and replace” health care bill, which they hope to vote on by the end of June. Negotiations have been secretive and held behind closed doors and once it is released, a vote could take place within a matter of days.

The Senate is expected to adopt many of the provisions of the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), passed in May. In particular, it is likely to include dangerous changes to Medicaid. Medicaid is America’s largest insurer helping low-income families, children, seniors, and persons with disabilities access vital medical care. It also provides critical services to America’s rural communities.

Yet, the House bill would cut Medicaid by $834 billion and cap the amount of money states would receive from the federal government to cover patients. It would also end the Medicaid expansion enacted under the Affordable Care Act. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 14 million people would lose health coverage because of these changes to Medicaid. While the Senate bill cuts may not be as deep, even adopting only part of the House changes would be devastating to millions of Americans.

The next few weeks will be critical. We must use every resource we can to sway senators to oppose cuts and changes to Medicaid before it’s too late. Senate offices need hear from as many people as possible in the coming weeks telling them that cutting or restructuring Medicaid is a horrible idea. Last month, RESULTS volunteers made strategic calls to Senate health aides about protecting Medicaid. While you should most certainly follow up from those conversations, now it’s all about the number of calls and contacts with Senate offices we can muster. Here’s the strategy to maximize those contacts to your senators.

Action #1: Call Senators about Protecting Medicaid

Each RESULTS volunteer should call both their Senate offices and leave a message with the receptionist. You can find direct office numbers on our Elected Officials page or call (800) 826-3688 to get connected to their office. If you cannot get through to their DC office, call a local office in your state and leave the following message:

My name is ___________________ and I am a constituent from ___________________. I am appalled that the Senate is poised to take health care away from millions of low-income Americans, including many in our state, with deep cuts and structural changes to Medicaid. Medicaid is a lifeline for millions of children, seniors, and persons with disabilities. Yet Congress wants to undo all the good Medicaid does by slashing Medicaid funding and instituting a per capita cap on spending. This cannot happen. Please tell Sen. ________________ to oppose any health bill that cuts or restructures Medicaid, ends the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, or causes millions of Americans to lose their health insurance. Will you deliver that message?

Action #2: Urge Others to Call Senators about Medicaid

Once you’ve made your calls, please urge others you know to do the same. Send e-mails to your Local Action Networks, post on social media sites, hand out flyers (Word version) at local events or meetings – do whatever you can to get folks to call their senators today about protecting Medicaid. Here is a sample e-mail or Facebook post you can use:

We need your help! Congress is poised to end the Medicaid program as we know it, causing 14 million low-income Americans to lose health coverage. These cuts will be used to give the wealthy and powerful another giant tax cut. When did cutting health care for our most vulnerable become an American value? We must do all we can to protect Americans on Medicaid.

Please call your Senate offices at (800) 826-3688  and leave the following message with the receptionist:

My name is ___________________ and I am a constituent from ___________________. I am appalled that the Senate wants to make deep cuts and structural changes to Medicaid, which is a lifeline for millions of children, seniors, and persons with disabilities. Will you please tell Sen. ________________ to oppose any health bill that cuts or restructures Medicaid, ends the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, or causes millions of Americans to lose their health insurance?

Action #3: Submit a Letter to the Editor about Medicaid

To reinforce this message and get the attention of Senators in public, submit a letter to the editor (LTE) to your local paper urging them to reject cuts or changes to Medicaid. Here’s a sample LTE to get you started:

I am outraged that the Senate is secretly negotiating legislation that will end Medicaid as we know it and take health coverage from millions. Senator leaders are planning a vote on their bill without one single hearing.

The House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in May, which would force 23 million people to lose insurance, 14 million of them from Medicaid alone. The AHCA would cap Medicaid funding to states and force them to ration care, shoulder more costs, and deny health coverage to many of those who need it most. Yet, despite overwhelming opposition from the American people, the Senate plans to base 80 percent of its bill on the AHCA.

People's lives are literally on the line. I urge our Senators to oppose ANY proposal that cuts or restructures Medicaid or threatens the health care of millions of Americans.

Tips for getting your letter published: